In pursuit of happiness

Dunnett, Susan and Hamilton, Kathy (2015) In pursuit of happiness. In: Interpretive Consumer Research workshop, 2015-04-15 - 2015-04-17.

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    Here we present early findings from a critical investigation of the burgeoning “happiness industry”. The happiness industry is an area where science – notably psychology – and the market meet. With ‘Positive Psychology’ as its foundation, its aims are to increase individual and collective happiness through self-management depicted in“how to” manuals, websites, apps, courses, exhibitions, films and media coverage (e.g. In doing so the industry represents the monetizing of mainstream psychological theory. In line with the development of this market, interest in the study of happiness is growing with Ahmed (2010) speaking of the happiness turn and Burnett (2011) referring to the happiness agenda. This interest in happiness is evident across a variety of different contexts, from micro to macro. Burnett (2012) outlines three ideological shocks driving the cultural circuits of happiness: first, happiness is embraced as a macro-political issue in line with a focus on utilitarianism; second, happiness is embraced at the meso-organisations level as a conduit to productivity and third, happiness is embraced at the micro-sociological level under the guise of positive psychology. Our interest in happiness began at a micro level with the “100 Happy Days” project.